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Aussie Dave

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Posts posted by Aussie Dave

  1. Jupiter just after 1am this morning, conditions poor. Captured in SharpCap 2.10 with the ZWO ASI224MC, Celestron UV/IR cutoff filter, Tele Vue Powermate 2.5x, focal extension tubes and the Celestron Nexstar 8i SCT. Focal length approximately 5420mm, just under f25 if my calculations are correct. First time imaging with the Powermate.

    I spent about 2 hours editing the final stacked image of 679 frames from Autostakkert with 1.5X drizzle, Registax for wavelets and some colour correction, noise reduction, RGB Align and final edit in PaintDotNet for further colour correction, some sharpening and a slight reduction in image size.

    I just couldn't reach good focus last night with or without the Powermate. I have some vids without the Powermate so I'll see how they are later. Fingers crossed for better nights.


    • Like 5
  2. This is some great work Charl, amazing. I've been following the solar imaging section offline recently to check activity as I  bought a glass white light solar filter for my C8 to compare to the solar white light film filter. There was a long time with no solar activity.

    So is this one of the DayStar Quark h-alpha chromosphere eyepiece adapters fitted to your ED80 and what's ERF? Could you point me in the right direction to what you bought please so I can read up on it all :)

    • Like 1
  3. 5 hours ago, Craney said:

    Thanks Dave.  I have pretty much all those components in some shape or form.   So you use the Barlow just as a focal extended tube??  I will give this a go.  I have a 5x Edmund Scientific  focal booster thingy, but it tends to magnify the murky wobbliness which is there in the 1X image......as you would expect and dim the intensity quite substantially.  Saturn is a low, early morning object for us at the moment.

    The  detail on the your Saturnian cloud belts is epic.  Keep them coming.



    I'm not sure on the Edmund Scientific focal extenders Sean, a quick search says that they are a Barlow design, but I could be wrong, they may have another design. I've never had any luck with Barlows visually or in imaging like you say. I have seen some great shots from people using Barlows but they just don't do it for me so I don't use any of mine apart from the 2" I currently use on the C8 as a focal extension tube, I just unscrewed the lens. I almost bought an Explore Scientific focal extender and have read good things about them but again I think they are the Barlow design too. I ended up paying extra for a 2.5x Powermate although I've hardly used it. It will be something I will use when I upgrade to a larger aperture SCT.

    I can just make out some subtle extra rings when I zoom in on my Saturn images on the sides. For me to get them would be the icing on the cake.


    5 hours ago, Swoop1 said:

    A couple of lovely images there!

    I can't wait for Saturn to arrive in decent observing skies up her- I haven't had my scope long enough to play. I will try and hunt it down with my binos when I visit South Africa in June.

    Thanks Swoop1. When Jupiter and Saturn get lower in the sky here in the southern hemisphere (I'm in the bottom corner of Western Australia) it will be better for everyone in the northern hemisphere. I think Jupiter is starting to get lower here from what I've noticed, so your chance is coming :)

    • Like 1
  4. @michael.h.f.wilkinson @laudropb @bob-c  cheers :)

    @Craney thanks Sean. I didn't use a Barlow or Powermate. I used 1.5X Drizzle in Autostakkert and in the final image edit I enlarged the image by a further 20%. I'm unsure of the focal length now, not sure how to work it out, it's well over 2000mm. I'm using a Bintel 2" SCT visual back adapter plus a Bintel 2" 2x Barlow with the lens removed plus the 1.25" diagonal. The ASI224MC camera has a Celestron UV/IR cutoff filter on the adapter which raises the camera out from the diagonal by about 5mm plus the 2 tubes of about 140mm in length. So do I just add this to the focal length of the scope which I think is 2032mm and take away the original 1.25" visual back length? I'd be very interested to know.



    @bunnygod1 Cheers Pete, I'm very happy with this result but would still like to do better :)


    Here's one I did early this morning, just the one video, 750 frames and the quality wasn't as good, no Barlow or Powermate used. 1.5x Drizzle used in Autostakkert and reduced the final image size by 20%. I tried with a Tele-Vue Powermate 2.5x but the live view image was very dim at around f25, the frame rate was under 10fps but I didn't adjust any capture settings apart from exposure so I'll need to work on it with the Powermate when I have more time. For us in the south it's high in the sky, prime imaging target.



    • Like 3
  5. I'm starting to image Saturn in the wee hours of the morning when the clouds part. Early days yet but it looks promising.

    Taken with the Celestron Nexstar 8i, focal extension tubes, ZWO ASI224MC with UV/IR cut filter.

    A 5 minute video was taken. PIPP for getting the better 5000 frames from a 10000+ frame video, then 1000 of the best frames stacked in Autostakkert.  Registax for wavelets and the final edit in PaintDotNet.


    • Like 11
  6. I've been busy trying to improve my lunar and planetary over the last few months or so. I'm still at it most nights when the weather and conditions permit.


    This was taken early morning on the 20th of March with the Sony a5000 at 2x zoom and the Celestron Nexstar 8i, no tracking, prime focus, ISO 250, 1/125th sec. It's a 6 pane mosaic stitched in MS ICE, final edit in PaintDotNet.



    These next images are with the Celestron Neximage 5 Solar System Imager,  UV/IR cut filter and Celestron Nexstar 8i taken early morning on the 17th March. 3 minute videos were taken in Firecapture, stacked in Autostakkert, wavelets in Registax, finished in PaintDotNet.

    Crater Aristoteles and Eudoxus. Stacked 20% (979 frames).



    Crater Posidonius. Stacked 15% (735 frames).



    My favorite so far to date, crater Moretus. Stacked 14% (685 frames).


    • Like 12
  7. Hi happy-cat. I can hear at least 1 motor working ticking away. The thing is I can move it with the arrow keys on the hand controller with it showing changing co-ordinates on the display both Dec and RA, so it's getting power and the Dec encoder unit for both of them are working and communicating. It's got me beat.

    oh and yes I have loosened the declination lock knob on the shaft (not the clutch arm which is firm).

  8. Hi all.

    I have an older Meade Starfinder equatorial mount with the Dec motor not tracking. It's getting power and I can control it with the hand controller and can see the co-ordinates on the hand controller changing as well as visually seeing it move but tracking by itself it doesn't move.

    I've changed the Dec encoder unit over with a spare one I had but it's still not tracking by itself, co-ordinates still changing and can visually see it moving when using the hand controller. Would anyone have any ideas as to what the issue could be?

  9. 7 hours ago, alacant said:

    Hi. If your computer has a 232 male socket then fine. Otherwise you're gonna need the usb to serial (male) cable. Plug the white lead into the centre socket of the handset and the other end into your computer. Set the handset PCDIRECT and you're then connected. 

    CDC has southern hemisphere. Don't forget to configure and connect in Telescope:



    G'day alacant, yes the laptop has the 232 male socket at the back, so the laptop is powering the handset? What happens to the black cable? There's also the guide camera cable which I think I still need or can I use the ZWO USB 3.0 transfer cable for that?


  10. 8 hours ago, alacant said:

    Hi. Yes, absolutely. Sorry. I replied without reading your full post. So, yes. All the software is free. First install ascom. Then eqascom. CdC is here and you'll need PHD2 for guiding. You'll need a usb to serial cable to connect to the eq6 handset. HTH and good luck. 

    Yes it helps a lot, thanks for the links alacat. Downloading them now...

    I was going through my gear and this is what I have, cable wise


    Would this cable on the left be ok or would it be better to buy the USB to Serial cable? I was actually looking at one of these USB to Serial cables from one of my search results the other day on ebay.



    Ok I downloaded ASCOM, installed it, then opened it. seems to be fine. I'll need to work out port settings later.




    I downloaded the latest version of EQASCOM.  Installed and then run Setup EQASCOM, some of these settings I'm unsure of, hopefully I won't need to change much. I will need to test connected to the EQ6 Pro mount tonight.





    Now with CdC star chart, I've downloaded it but does it have Southern Hemisphere star charts or can I download them? Also can I use Stellarium instead. Is that similar to Cartes du Ciel ?

    I haven't gone any further yet.


  11. @D4N I bought the ZWO second hand, the only thing it didn't come with was the guide cable.

    @alacant I'd rather just go straight to auto guiding and get some practice in. Ok so first thing is to install eqmod, then Cartes du Ciel star chart.  So a rough polar align and star align is ok to see if it slews and communicates correctly, if it does then download PHD2. Got it, thanks.

    I'll need to test this tomorrow, cheers.

  12. Hi all.

    I would like to start auto guiding for some of the bigger nebs, mainly Orion's neb to start with but I'm not really sure what software I should download as there's quite a lot out there. If someone could point me in the right direction that would be great.

    The gear I'll be using will be either the Celestron Nexstar 8i with GPS attachment which doesn't deal with field rotation, or the Skywatcher EQ6 Pro with a suitable scope. I have an off-axis guider attachment, the ZWO ASI174MM for the guide camera and Sony a3000 DSLR camera or smaller a5000 to image with. The only thing I haven't bought yet is the ST4 guide cable. Laptop is Win10 i5.

    I'm not looking to do long exposures yet, 30-60 second exposures would be good on Orion just to work it all out and get some nice results to work with.


    What's the best value for money ST4 guide cable? as they seem a little over priced for what they are from what I've found searching for one.

    Do I still need to do a star align with the C8i / polar alignment and star align with the SW EQ6 pro to auto guide?

    What's the easiest and the most simple to understand auto guiding program available for someone starting out for the first time?

    Is there anything I've missed that I need?

    Any suggestions would be a big help, thanks.



  13. Thank you Alan. The image/area you're talking about (Aristarchus and Herodotus craters with rilles) I've only managed to capture it once before by accident. I was glad I captured it again but my capture settings were slightly off.

    There's always next time :)

  14. These were taken 1 day before the Super Moon on the 13th November.

    Taken with the ZWO ASI174MM, Celestron Nexstar 8i SCT, no diagonal, extension tube, Celestron UV/IR cut off filter.

    Captured with Firecapture, stacked with Autostakkert 2, wavelets in Registax 6 and finished off in PaintDotNet.

    I seem to have had a good night for a change and I'm quite happy with images 1,2 and 5.

    Drizzle15_2016-11-12-1333_1-UV-5_g4_b3_ap1 Test5.png

    Drizzle15_2016-11-12-1337_8-UV-7_pipp_g4_b3_ap1 PIPP Test.png

    Drizzle15_2016-11-12-1336_2-UV-6_g4_b3_ap1 Test 6.png

    Drizzle15_2016-11-12-1320_2-UV-1_g4_b3_ap1 Final.png

    Drizzle15_2016-11-12-1324_5-UV-3_g4_b3_ap1 Test 4.png

    • Like 2
  15. 7 minutes ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

    Forgot to add: I have a 3x TeleXtender as well, but that spends rather more time in the case. It is of some use in lunar imaging with the APM 80mm F/6, where I get a useful F/18 which matches the ASI224MC well, but in the C8 I haven't used it very much. I might use it on Mars with the ASI174MM, but I am not at all sure it will get more detail than the 2.5x PowerMate. A 4x or 5x are way over the top for the C8

    I was thinking of the 3x but I don't think conditions here would justify buying one. I don't want it sitting for the rest of it's life in an EP case. I'm thinking 2.5x max and as you say it would be better suited for the ZWO ASI174MM with the C8.

  16. Cheers Michael. It's strange as some people using a 2X Barlow and much smaller scope get much better results than myself without using a Barlow. A good example of that was recently posted in the Small Scope Lunar Challenge thread.

    I think I'll be happy with either and will get better results to work with.

    I've been using extension tubes without a diagonal recently which seems to be working well but would like to do higher magnification work without degrading image quality.

  17. Hi all. I'm heading down the road of buying a 1.25" Televue Powermate or a 1.25" Explore Scientific Focal Extender.

    I'll be using it for imaging lunar and planetary with a Celestron Nexstar 8i SCT. The camera that I'll be using will be the ZWO ASI174mm.

    I've been reading up about both of them for some time now and both seem to be a good investment but consensus leans towards the Televue Powermates which will cost a little more. I'm looking at the 2.5x 1.25" Televue Powermate or the 2x 1.25" Explore Scientific Focal Extender.

    I have a few questions...

    Will I notice a big difference in imaging using a 2.5x 1.25" Televue Powermate or a 2x 1.25" Explore Scientific Focal Extender to a standard 2x 1.25" Barlow? I've found standard Barlow's to be useless so I guess I have already answered my question here.

    Should I be looking at a 3x or 4x Powermate or Focal Extender or will that be pushing the optics too far?

    Are the 2" Powermates or Focal Extenders better for imaging than the 1.25"?


    Any comments, suggestions, examples will be greatly appreciated, thanks.



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